11 Ways to Spend the Summer Solstice and National Aboriginal Day


June 21st is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. What will you be doing to celebrate?

Although we're not totally sold on the idea of the federal government designating one day a year to celebrate Indigenous culture, at least it's an opportunity to check out some amazing performances by Indigenous artists.

And, as June 21st also marks the summer solstice, there are more than enough reasons to get out of the house and show your love for all things NDN, First Nations, Aboriginal, Native, Métis, Inuit, and Indigenous.

There are many different events being planned across the country (here, here, and here, for example), so we were hard pressed to narrow things down.

But here are eleven decidedly great ways to spend the solstice and National Aboriginal Day this year.

11. Learn about Métis culture at the National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Métis Crossing

Metis Crossing

The Métis Nation of Alberta and their affiliate organization, Métis Crossing, will be hosting a celebration for National Aboriginal Day on June 21st. Located at the Métis Crossing Historic Site (south of Smokey Lake, Alberta), between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM, the day's events will include an open stage jam, cultural interpretation, a genealogy exhibit, games, on-site concession, and an elder’s lounge. For more info click here.

10. See Kinnie Starr, Cris Derksen, and Binaeshee-Quae perform at the Luminato Festival in Toronto

Kinnie Starr

Acclaimed Mohawk singer-songwriter and hip-hop artist Kinnie Starr, Métis cellist and experimenter Cris Derksen, and jazzy alterna-folk artist Binaeshee-Quae will perform on June 20th and 21st respectively, as part of the Luminato Festival's New Canadian Music Series which runs daily at the Festival Garden Stage in Toronto. For more info, check out: https://luminatofestival.com/festival/2015/new-canadian-music-series

9. Watch Kaha:wi Dance Theatre at the Aboriginal Cultural Festival and Competition Powwow in Ottawa

Kaha:wi Dance

Led by founding Artistic Director Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (pronounced Ga-Ha-Wee) is an artist-based dance company known for their energetic and innovative performances that blend traditional and contemporary styles. KDT will be performing as part of Ottawa's Summer Solstice events at Vincent Massey Park. On Saturday, June 20th at 1pm, KDT will perform the piece Medicine Bear, which weaves a magical narrative of traditional Iroquoian stories: how the Bear Clan came to be known as the “Keeper of the Medicines” and the hunter who discovered the gift of healing. Plus, don't forget about the full traditional powwow going on all weekend too. For more info, visit: http://www.ottawasummersolstice.ca/

8. Bring your family for a pancake breakfast at Trout Lake on Coast Salish Territories in Vancouver


The Annual National Aboriginal Day Celebration on Coast Salish Territories will once again be held at Trout Lake on Sunday, June 21st. It’s a community-based full day of events that celebrates the diversity of Indigenous Peoples from across Canada. First Nations, Métis & Inuit peoples gather to share their experiences, stories, songs, traditional games, dances & spirit with each other & the general community. All events are FREE, all Aboriginal community members & supporters are welcome; and it's a family-friendly event, with no alcohol or drugs permitted. There's a full day of activities, but get there early before the pancakes run out! For more information visit: http://www.vafcs.org/events/aboriginalday/

7. Start implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations in Halifax


Celebrate National Aboriginal Day with justice in Halifax: by joining other like-minded people to support the Mi'kmaq Nation in Nova Scotia, and taking up national calls by Indigenous and allied organizers to implement the 94 recommendations put forth by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The work of reconciliation belongs to all of us, and Halifax organizers are taking the lead. But no matter where you live, why not start learning more about how you can bring more truth and more justice into this colonial world of ours. Here's more information on how Nova Scotian organizers are gathering and getting started for NAD: http://solidarityhalifax.ca/2015/06/statement-celebrate-national-aboriginal-day-with-justice/

6. Catch Leonard Sumner at the Indigenous Arts Festival in Fort York


Anishinaabe MC/singer/songwriter Leonard Sumner will be one of many performers taking part in the Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York in Toronto. Fusing elements of hip-hop, country, and rhythm & blues, his music appeal cuts across age lines, allowing his style to be enjoyed by people who typically 'aren't into rap'. Sumner will be rocking the festival mainstage on Saturday, June 20th at 5:30pm. For more information, click here.

5. Join the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations for the Aboriginal Cultural Festival in Victoria

Le-La-La Dancers

Featuring three days of performances on an outdoor stage in the plaza at the Royal BC Museum in the heart of downtown Victoria, BC, the Aboriginal Cultural Festival will run from June 19-21, 2015. Each day will be dedicated to a coastal nation: there's a Coast Salish Nation Day, a Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nation Day, and a Kwakwaka'wakw Nation Day. All weekend the festival will open with performances from the two local Host Nations and follow with shows from Aboriginal performers from across the province as well as a show from 3-time World Hoop Dancing Champion Alex Wells. Full schedule and info at: https://www.aboriginalbc.com/victoria-aboriginal-festival/

4. Go see Ghostkeeper, Derek Miller, and Crystal Shawanda in Edmonton


Second in size only to Winnipeg's #ADL2015 celebration, Edmonton will be putting on a full day's worth of events on June 21st, culminating in a mainstage show that will feature some incredible Indigenous performers—including the idiosyncratic experimentalism of Ghostkeeper, the full-blown, blues rock of Derek Miller, and the powerful contemporary country sounds of Crystal Shawanda. Definitely worth checking out. For more about Edmonton's 9th annual Aboriginal Day celebration, click here.

3. Rock out with Don Amero, Brett Kissel, and Lightning Cloud in Winnipeg


With his new album, Unrefined, recently released to the world, Don Amero is taking to the Aboriginal Day Live mainstage alongside his buddy Brett Kissel, and Los Angeles-based hip-hop duo Lightning Cloud, to rock The Forks in Winnipeg. Look out for a special rendition of a new song that Amero and Kissel wrote a few months back, called "Rebuild This Town". Oh, and RedCloud will be incorporating crowdsourced words and ideas into his freestyles during Lightning Cloud's set. You don't want to miss 'em. For more on #ADL2015 in Winnipeg, check out: http://www.aboriginaldaylive.ca/winnipeg/winnipeg-live-concert/

2. Get your Electric Pow Wow on with A Tribe Called Red in Vancouver


You may have seen ATCR before, but not like this. A Tribe Called Red will be bringing the electric pow-wow out of the nightclubs and into the park—Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park to be precise—for a massive, outdoor Indigenous throwdown on Saturday, June 20th. This one isn't free, but it's definitely worth the price of admission. The Tribe will rock the spot alongside Blondtron & Waspy, the amazing Git Hayetsk Dancers, and local DJ crew Klash Akt. Get down to the bass-heavy sounds of DJ NDN, Bear Witness, and 2oolman rocking a stage surrounded by the sunset, sea, and ancient cedars. An Aboriginal Day meets summer solstice taste of Indigenous dance music perfection? Sounds like it to us. More info and tickets available here: http://malkinbowl.com/a-tribe-called-red/

1. Celebrate the Midnight Sun in Inuvik, NWT


In Canada's Northwest Territories—the only place in the country where National Aboriginal Day is a statutory holiday—you can experience a summer solstice that lasts well into the night. Join other northerners in Inuvik, NWT on June 21st for a day of events celebrating the local Gwich'in, Inuvialuit and Métis people and cultures. From traditional drumming, dancing, and foods, to a Midnight Sun Run in celebration of the summer solstice's warm temperatures, experience what it's like to be out in the sunlit streets long after midnight, above the Arctic Circle. And that photo above? That was taken at 1:30am in late May. Learn more about NAD celebrations in the NWT here: https://www.facebook.com/Inuvik.NWT.Canada


Buffy Sainte-Marie Continues to Push Boundaries on New Album, "Power in the Blood"


At age 74, activist, artist, and icon Buffy Sainte-Marie remains refreshingly forthright, not to mention downright danceable, on her new album, Power in the Blood.

A collection of originals and cover songs, the album includes the techno-laced, anthemic title track (the result of a collaboration with electronic group Alabama 3) Power in the Blood, the reiteration of the longevity and diversity of Buffy's career in the re-imagining of the title track from her 1964 debut album It's My Way, her take on UB40's Sing Our Own Songand the fiery reworking of her 1972 released break-up song Not the Lovin' Kind.

In addition to the updated spin on existing material, the stand out new songs Carry it On and We Are Circling celebrate the sanctity and beauty of life and nature and, what we know and love Buffy best for, scathing political and social commentary.

Of seeming unending energy to speak and perform, Buffy is currently touring in support of the new album throughout the UK, the US, and Canada - check out the full list of tour dates below.

Listen to the title track now, actually don't just listen, stand up and join in, "there's power in the blood, justice in the soul."

STREAM: Buffy Sainte-Marie - "It's My Way"

Tour dates:

03/18 Cardiff, UK - Motorpoint Arena * 03/20 Leeds, UK - First Direct Arena * 03/21 Glasgow, UK - The SSE Hydro * 03/24 Belfast, UK - Odyssey Arena * 03/26 London, UK - The Tabernacle 03/27 Birmingham, UK - Barclaycard Arena * 04/26 Sidney, BC - Mary Winspear Centre 04/29 Campbell River, BC - The Tidemark Theatre 04/30 North Vancouver, BC - Capilano University Centre for the Performing Arts Theatre 05/01 North Vancouver, BC - Capilano University Centre for the Performing Arts Theatre 05/06 London, ON - Aeolian Hall 05/07 Toronto, ON Koerner Hall 05/09 Burnstown, ON - Neat Coffee Shop 05/15 Lincoln, NE - University of Nebraska Lincoln 05/17 Chicago, IL - City Winery 05/18 Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live 05/19 Washington, DC - The Hamilton 05/20 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom 07/16 Grass Valley, CA - California Worldfest 08/07 Little Current, ON - Manitoulin Country Fest


Buffy's new album, Power in the Blood, is available now on iTunes.

Watch Pura Fé Perform 'Sacred Seed' Live on Fip Radio


Legendary vocalist Pura Fé performs "Sacred Seed" on Fip Radio in France.

We can't wait to hear all of Pura Fé's new album, but until then, here's a lovely preview of what's to come, live in studio.

The performance comes as part of the Au fil des Voix (Over the Voice) Festival, now in its 8th year. The 2015 festival features performances by Julia Sarr, Pura Fé, Dorsaf Hamdani, Djazia Satour, Lindigo and Noëmi Waysfeld in exclusive acoustic sessions.

The Parisian festival Au fil des Voix / Over the Voice has established itself as a must-attend event for world music that celebrates the rich cultural diversity of the world. This eighth edition will be held from January 29 to February 9, 2015 at the Alhambra and Studio of the Hermitage.

Watch Pura Fé Perform 'Sacred Seed'

Pura Fé : Session Live spéciale Au Fil des Voix... by Fipradio

STREAM: Pura Fé - "Sacred Seed"


Legendary Taino/Tuscarora singer Pura Fé, returns with "Sacred Seed" the title track and lead single from her forthcoming solo album on Nueva Onda Records.

Pura Fé is perhaps most well known as the founding member of the Indigenous women's a cappela group Ulali, but she is an accomplished singer and an acclaimed songwriter in her own right.

Having recently been discovered by the Nueva Onda label in France, she has gained a whole new audience for her work—and a new group of creative collaborators.

"Sacred Seed", the lead single and title track from her new album, is a beautiful slice of Indigenous blues — a celebration of ancestral memory, sacred stories, and cycles of renewal. Pura Fé's vocals powerfully carry the stripped down tune into a piano and electric guitar-soaked haze of harmony. A soulful taste of things to come.

Sacred Seed will be released on January 27th and Pura Fé will be touring through France in 2015. Tour dates below.

Listen to Pura Fé's "Sacred Seed"



20 Dec – Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales, New Mexico

4 Feb – Le Sonograf – Le Thor

5 Feb – Au fil des Voix – Paris

6 Feb- Théatre Denis – Hyères

7 Feb –  Centre Culturel l’Ellipse – Moëlan sur Mer

10 April - Scène Croisées – Chanac

11 April – Le Sonambule – Gignac

16 April – Café de la Danse – Paris

17 April – Centre Culturel – Bondy

24 April – Beautiful Swamp Blues Festival - Calais

Native American Music Awards 2014: Full List of Nominees


The 15th annual Native American Music Awards are set for November 14, 2014 at the Seneca Allegany Events Center. Check out the full list of nominees and vote for your favourite Indigenous artists.

The Native American Music Awards are a staple of the Indigenous music awards circuit and every year they hand out nods to an astonishing diversity of Indigenous artists in over 30 categories of music, spoken word and historical recordings. This year is no exception. From country and hip-hop, to pow wow and gospel, and even, um, "new age", the NAMAs span the widest possible spectrum of Native American music. A Tribe Called Red, Samantha Crain, and Bear Fox are all up for multiple awards this year—but there are many, many more nominees to listen to and choose from.

Voting is currently underway in all categories and winners will be announced on Friday, November 14th at the NAMA gala at Seneca Allegany Events Center. The awards show will be streamed live on FNX.org and broadcast on FNX Television.

Cast your ballot and listen to a 116-track playlist of this year's NAMA nominees right here.

Native American Music Awards 2014 Full List of Nominees


  • Jan Looking Wolf Reibach (Conf. Tribes of Grande Ronde – Kalapuya) - Tamanawas
  • Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida) – Nature Dance
  • Mato Nanji (Lakota/Dakota) – Vanishing Americans
  • R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman (Navajo/Ute) – Awakening The Fire
  • Ryan Little Eagle Molina (Lakota/Apache) – The Long Journey Home
  • Wade Fernandez (Menominee) – Breathe & Flow


  • A Tribute To Little Johnny Taylor – Jimmy Wolf (Mohawk)
  • Back To Clearlake Oaks – Twice As Good
  • Blues Joose Vol 2 - Joel Johnson (Tuscarora)
  • Lakota John and Kin - Lakota John and Kin (Lumbee/Oglala)
  • Red Kroz Bluez Band - Red Kroz Bluez Band (Munsee)
  • Vanishing Americans – Indigenous


  • CTR Country Mix – Various Artists
  • Dawn's Early Light - Various Artists
  • Don't Let Me Forget - Kelly Montijo Fink
  • Earth Bound Angel – Various Artists
  • Putumayo Presents Native America – Various Artists
  • The Hopson Live Session - Various Artists


  • 3 of a Kind - John McLeod (Cree)
  • Bring It On – Donny Parenteau (Metis)
  • Senorita Dreams – Wayne Garner (Cherokee/Apache)
  • Tribute - Victoria Blackie (Navajo)
  • Tyra Preston – Tyra Preston (Navajo)
  • Woman Of Red – Tracy Bone (Ojibway)


  • David Rose – Wind Dance Under The Moon
  • Gabrielle Knife (Lakota Sioux) – Ohiya Ku WInyan
  • Gareth – The Journey
  • Leah Shenandoah (Oneida) - Spektra
  • Nitanis “Kit” Largo (Various) – Serenity
  • Robert Mullinax (Cherokee) – Dream of a Sacred Song


  • A Tribe Called Red (Cayuga/Ojibway) – A Tribe Called Red
  • Fabulous Ripcords (Oneida) - Voo Doo Girl
  • Iskwew Singers (Metis/Cree/Saulteaux) – Kamawinan: Songs of Our People
  • Lightning Creek (Nez Perce) – Long Time Coming
  • Sihasin (Navajo) – Never Surrender
  • Women of Heart (Various) - Winds of Change


  • Donna Kay (Metis) – Uncover Me
  • Jamie Coon (Creek/Seminole) – Day After Day
  • Rhonda Head (Cree) - Nikumoon
  • Rita Coolidge (Cherokee) – A Rita Coolidge Christmas
  • Tracy Bone (Ojibway) - Woman Of Red
  • Victoria Blackie (Navajo) - Tribute


  • Adageyudi – Clear Water Drum (Cherokee/Yaqui/Metis)
  • Songs to Keep the Earth Alive - Good Shield Aguilar
  • Heart of the Buffalo– Richard Stepp and Rick McKee (Keetoowah)
  • Home Grown - Storm Seymour (Meskwaki)
  • Keeper of the Dreams - Red Feather Woman (Assiniboine/Sioux)
  • Kid Face - Samantha Crain (Choctaw)


  • Cal Silverfox Lopez (Apache) – To Touch The Sky
  • Douglas Blue Feather – Dawn of a New Light
  • Jan Looking Wolf Reibach (Conf. Tribes of Grande Ronde – Kalapuya) - Tamanawas
  • Jonathon Maracle Ohwihsha (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) – The Clearing
  • Rona Yellow Robe (Chippewa Cree) - The Gathering
  • Tony Duncan (Apache/Ankara/Hidatsu/Mandan) – Native Son


  • Don’t Let Me Forget – Kelly Montijo Fink
  • Grace & Grit: Chapter I – Dark Water Rising (Lumbee)
  • Love & Kindness - Golana (Cherokee) & Peter Kater
  • Nikumoon - Rhonda Head (Cree)
  • Season of Joy – Yolanda Martinez (Apache)
  • Speak To The Sky – Storm Seymour (Meskwaki)


  • Dark Water Rising (Lumbee) - Grace & Grit: Chapter I
  • Indigie Femme (Navajo) – Te Hau Waiati
  • Injunuity (Various) – Fight For Survival
  • Plenty Wolf Singers(Oglala Lakota) – Medicine Wolf
  • Rushingwind & Mucklow (Cahuilla) – Strong Horse
  • Sweethearts of Navajoland (Navajo) – From The Heart of Dine Nation


  • Chillin’ Rez-Style - Will and Jesse Lee (Lakota)
  • Heart of the Buffalo – Richard Stepp and Rick McKee (Keetoowah)
  • Intikana (Arawak/Taino) – Native Eyez
  • 2 Worlds - Nataanii Means (Oglala Lakota, Omaha, Dine')
  • Mescalero Apache Creation – Fred Kaydahzinne (Apache)
  • Te Hau Waiati - Indigie Femme (Navajo)


  • Awakened By The Noon Day Sun - Mwalin (Mashpee Wampanoag)
  • Fight For Survival - Injunuity (Choctaw)
  • Journey To the Sun - Sun Shadows (Choctaw/Navajo)
  • Strong Horse - Rushingwind & Mucklow
  • The Long Journey Home - Ryan Little Eagle Molina (Lakota/Apache)
  • The Clearing - Ohwihsha (Mohawk)


  • Jimmy Wolf (Mohawk) - A Tribute To Little Johnny Taylor
  • Lawrence Harris (Choctaw) – Romanze – Songs of Tosti
  • Randy McGinnis (Cherokee) – Smoky Mountain Dreams
  • TerryLee Whetstone (Cherokee) - One People
  • Tony Duncan (Apache/Ankara/Hidatsu/Mandan) – Native Son
  • Wayne Silas, Jr (Menominee) – Infinite Passion


  • A Good Day, A Better Tomorrow - Cheevers Toppah (Kiowa)
  • Apache Peyote Songs - Joe Tohonnie Jr (Apache/Navajo)
  • As It Was In The Beginning - Primeaux & Mike (Sioux/Navajo)
  • Charity - Kevin Yazzie (Navajo)
  • NAC Songs - Aaron Adson (Pawnee/Comanche)


  • Awakening The Fire - R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman (Navajo/Ute)
  • Bridge - Rushingwind & Mucklow
  • Dawn of a New Light - Douglas Blue Feather (Cherokee)
  • Kamama - SilverWolf/Adelaunegv Waya
  • Love & Kindness - Golana (Cherokee)
  • Smoky Mountain Dreams - Randy McGinnis (Cherokee)


  • Colors - Indian City (Ojibway)
  • Day After Day - Jamie Coon (Creek/Seminole)
  • Feathers Rosary - Joey Stylez (Cree)
  • Grace & Grit: Chapter I – Dark Water Rising (Lumbee)
  • Spektra - Leah Shenandoah (Oneida)
  • Touch - Raphael (Mescalero Apache)


  • Elder’s Vision: Pow Wow Songs Recorded Live @ Ky1 Yo - Blackfoot Confederacy (Various)
  • In Harmony Again - Big River Cree
  • Loyalty to the Drum - Northern Cree (Cree/Various)
  • Right Now - Bear Creek (Various)
  • Save Me A Lead - Young Spirit (Various)
  • Stoic - Tha Tribe (Various)


  • Donald Blackfox – Earth Bound Angel
  • Eddie Webber – Apache Blessing & Crown Dance Songs
  • Kevin Chief (Algonquin/Oneida) – Honoring The Mazinikijik Singers
  • Lynn Coulter, John Mc Duffie, Randy Landas, John Thomas - A Rita Coolidge Christmas
  • Peter Blackwell – Mescalero Apache Creation
  • Robert Doyle – Awakening The Fire


  • Crunk Nativez - Lil Mike & Funny Bone (Chocktaw, Pawnee)
  • Native Eyez - Intikana (Arawak/Taino)
  • One Tribe One Nation – The Council (Sounthern Ute, Jemez Pueblo, Taos Pueblo)
  • Quese Imc & Cempoalli 20 (Pawnee/Seminole) – Osahwuh
  • Rainy Days – Tha Native featuring Stuxx
  • Warriors Arise - Makardi (Navajo)

RECORD OF THE YEAR (Traditional & Contemporary)

  • A Rita Coolidge Christmas - Rita Coolidge (Cherokee)
  • A Tribe Called Red – A Tribe Called Red (Cayuga/Ojibway)
  • Breathe & Flow - Wade Fernandez (Menominee)
  • Native Son - Tony Duncan (Apache/Ankara/Hidatsu/Mandan)
  • Romanze – Songs of Tosti - Lawrence Harris (Choctaw)
  • The Gathering – Rona Yellowrobe (Chippewa Cree)


  • Fire and Brimstone: A Tribute To Link Wray - Band of Tribes (Shawnee)
  • Never Going Home – The Gun Runners (Onondaga)
  • Never Surrender - Sihasin (Navajo)
  • Surrender - George Leach (Sta’ atl’ imx)
  • The Journey – Gareth Laffely (Mi'kmaq/Cree)
  • Two Sons - The Ollivanders (Mohawk, Oneida)

SONG/SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Contemporary / Traditional)

  • “Diamond" - Bear Fox (Mohawk)
  • “Love Of My Life” – Spencer Battiest (Seminole)
  • “Runnin’ On Empty” –Shadowyze & Shyanne (Creek, Cherokee, Han Gwich in Athabascan)
  • “Song of the Wolf” – Graywolf Blues Band (Yaqui)
  • "Sublime Gracia" - Yolanda Martinez (Apache)
  • “Witchi Tai-To – Water Spirits” – Shadowyze, Caren Knight Pepper and Jim Pepper


  • Brianna Lea Pruett (Cherokee/Choctaw) – Gypsy Bells
  • Glen Bonham (Choctaw) - Glen Bonham
  • Randy Granger (Choltan/Mayan) – Strong Medicine
  • Robert Hollis aka Bobby Bullet (Lac du Flambeau) – Crooked Tear
  • Samantha Crain (Choctaw)– Kid Face
  • Theresa “Bear” Fox (St. Regis Mohawk) – Diamond


  • Blessings - Fawn Wood & Dallas Waskahat
  • Grandfather Speaks – Ken Quiet Hawk (Abenaki)
  • Lost Angel – Cyrus Emerson (Cherokee)
  • Man From The Sky - Soyota (Apache)
  • Mescalero Apache Creation – Fred Kaydahzinne (Apache)
  • The Little Rocks – Windfeather Navarez Bull (Navajo)


  • Apache Blessing & Crown Dance Songs - Joe Tohonnie Jr (Apache)
  • Blessings - Fawn Wood & Dallas Waskahat
  • From The Heart of Dine’ Nation - Sweethearts of Navajoland (Navajo)
  • Honoring The Mazinikijik Singers - Mazinikijik Singers (Algonquin/Oneida)
  • Moonlit Nights - Todi Neesh Zhee Singers (Navajo) - First Night
  • Spirit of Thunderheart - Rising (Mohawk, Blackfoot, Cree, Cherokee)


  • Love of My Life – Spencer Battiest (Seminole)
  • Native Eyez - Intikana (Arawak/Taino)
  • Prayer Loop Song – Supaman (Apsaalooke)
  • Song of Survival – Red Eagle
  • Women Across The River - Graywolf Blues Band (Yaqui)
  • Sisters ft Northern Voice - A Tribe Called Red (Cayuga, Ojibway)


  • 2 Rivers Band– 2 Rivers Band (Tohono O’odham)
  • Back To Basics - Cruz (Tohono O’odham)
  • Embrace The Kaos – Dfaktion Nyne (Tohono O’odham)
  • In Loving Memory of Our Beloved Father & Uncle - Family Pride (Tohono O’odham)
  • Pisinemo & Company – Pisinemo & Company (Tohono O’odham)
  • Tohono O’odham Waila Music, Volume 2 - Valenzuela & Company (Tohono O’odham)


  • Dance of the Soul - Jessica Martinez Maxey
  • Kurt Wyaco – Kurt Wyaco (Zuni Pueblo)
  • Nagwetch - Wabanag
  • Nature Dance - Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida)
  • North Wind - Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen (Algonquin)
  • To Touch The Sky - Cal Silverfox Lopez (Apache)


  • Big City Indians – May You Walk
  • Cornell Kinderknecht and Martin McCall - Dreamtime
  • Lex Nichols – The Long Road
  • Peter Phippen – Sacred Spaces
  • Emiliano Campobello & Kevin Donoho - Rockapelli
  • Terry Frazier - By The Still Waters

The Long Wait for "Light" from Digging Roots


It's been four years since blues duo Digging Roots released their last album but with one listen you'll agree it's been worth the wait.

Inspired by their travels, For The Light, firmly inhabits roots and blues with a nomadic wanderlust; confidently exploring other terrains from the inner cities, the back roads and all the places in between. The husband and wife songwriting team, Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish have written and produced a collection of love songs that reflects a maturing sense of storytelling. With sweet harmonies smokey wails and melodic accompaniments of ukulele, banjo, mellotron and of course Raven’s bombastic resonator guitar, this album is something special; an eclectic tapestry of light and dark sound that is vintage and fresh all at once.

Digging Roots are formidable live - be sure to catch them on the road this summer (tour dates below). Get the album on iTunes and start singing along (in Anishinabemowin and English) to the brilliant title track, For the Light:


Digging Roots' Summer Tour Dates 2014:

06/26/14 Toronto, ON Dundas Square

06/27/14 Midland, ON Midland Cultural Centre

06/29/14 Quebec City, QC Television Performance

07/01/14 Barrie, ON Heritage Park

07/11/14 - 07/13/14 Comox, BC Vancouver Island MusicFest

07/15/14 Duncan, BC Duncan Showroom Productions

07/17/14 - 07/20/14 Yellowknife, NWT Folk On The Rocks

07/23/14 Regina, SK 2014 Indigenous Games

08/01/14 Spence’s Bridge, BC N’kemin Voices of the Valley

08/06/14 Kelowna, BC Minstrel Café

08/06/14 - 08/07/14 Wayland, MI Pottawatami Gathering

08/15/14 - 08/17/14 Dunster, BC Robson Valley Music Festival

The Best Indigenous Music of 2013


2013 was a very good year for Indigenous music. Here are our favourite reasons why it's an incredible time to tune in. We're still here—and we're still making amazing music.

Look around you: from the front pages of websites, magazines and the news, to the halls of art galleries, centre stages, and dancefloors, clubs, festivals and playlists, Indigenous artists are at the forefront of almost every form of art and culture. And although we love all kinds of creative expression at RPM, this is a particularly inspiring time for Indigenous music.

In a year that began with the sound of the drum, and in the #RoundDanceRevolution that followed, our music has continued to keep us in time and on beat as the world marches ahead—with our people leading the charge.

As we spin back around for #Revolution2 here at RPM, we asked our Indigenous community to weigh in with their picks for the Best Indigenous Music of 2013.

Mohawk radio host, writer and artist Janet Rogers always knows what's up. At the top of her best album list is Derek Miller's Blues Vol. 1. Why? "Hot, rough, sexy, blues." Other top album picks from Janet are The Johnnys' Rock - "A generous offering of the Thinking Man’s Metal Music" and Patrica Cano, Songs from Tomson Highway’s the (post) Mistress, for her "sultry vocals with perfect pitch."

Anishinaabe broadcast journalist and writer Waubgeshig Rice just posted his Top 10 albums of the year, which includes the doomcore metal grind of Biipiigwan's Something for Everyone; Nothing for Anyone, and Leonard Sumner’s Rez Poetrywhich Rice praised as "a riveting portrayal of the unique struggles and triumphs of Anishinaabe people. It’s the album I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear."

The other Wab (Wabanakwut Kinew, that is), also picked Sumner's Rez Poetry along with Inez Jasper, Winnipeg Boyz, and powwow group North Bear as some of his favourites. Anishinaabe musician, scholar and organizer Melody McKiver listed some interesting additions, including Northern Voice's "Dance of the Moon" and shouted-out the Aboriginal 'Australian' MC K-Otic One's righteous hip-hop compilation the "Idle No More (Invasion Day)" mixtape.

Indigenous Waves radio host Susan Blight echoed many of our choices, and also shouted-out the latest from Quese IMC "Handdrum" for bringing "it all back to the roots; the importance of the sacred fire, the ceremonies, and the sound of the drum" and a unique collab between Just Jamaal and Lena Recollet "What's It All About" that was "released in solidarity with Idle No More--referencing broken treaties, environmental racism, and issuing a call for resistance all over slick production from Hyf the GypsySun".

And, of course, a certain Polaris Prize-nominated Indigenous crew seemed to pop up everywhere we turned and at the very top of everyone's 'Best of' list. But more on that later.

Shout-outs to these stellar releases:

K-otic 1 - "Idle No More Invasion Day Mixtape" PozLyrix - "Chicago Native" Impossible Nothing - "Alchemy" Derek Miller - "Blues, Vol. 1" Tara Williamson - "Lie Low" Rebel Diaz - "Radical Dilemma" The Johnnys - "Rock" Inez Jasper - "Burn Me Down" Kinnie Starr - "Kiss It" Eden Fine day - "Things Get Better" Fawn and Dallas - "Blessings"

The Top 10 Indigenous Albums of 2013


10. Frank Waln - "Born Ready EP"

Ascending to the hip-hop pedestal with a calm, collected confidence and wisdom beyond his years, Lakota MC Frank Waln turned the heads of almost everyone this fall when he dropped the powerhouse video for his NDN rap anthem "AbOriginal". With its massive "when I rise / you rise" hook, overflowing lyrical pride, and his obvious love for his people and nation, Waln brought some much-needed realness and a refreshing dose of youthful warriorism back into the Indigenous hip-hop game. Oh and The 1491s' Dallas Goldtooth directed a video for him. And did we mention that Waln composed, recorded and mixed all the tracks himself? And that he writes honorific rap dedications to his mother and grandmother? Yeah, good luck to the rest of you. Frank Waln is walking the talk. And raising the bar. Listen/download: http://frankwaln47.bandcamp.com/album/born-ready-ep

9. Cris Derksen - "The Collapse"

A now-ubiquitous fixture on the contemporary Indigenous music scene, Métis musician Cris Derksen's soaring cello melodies and effects-laden staccato bursts, beats and wailing cries, are a haunting, soaring, cinematic soundtrack to our peoples' burgeoning resurgence that give you chills and the increasing sense of possibility that so much is yet to come... Highly recommended. Listen/Download: http://crisderksen.virb.com/the-collapse

8. Kristi Lane Sinclair - "The Sea Alone"

Speaking of Cris Derksen, you can hear her cello stylings on Haida singer Kristi Lane Sinclair's latest grunge-folk album that, as its title invites, carries you across waves of solitude, heartache, reflection, fierceness and vulnerability.  Kristi’s voice ranges from a low growl to a sultry spell (including one of the best musical deliveries of the f-bomb in recent memory) and her style is not for the faint of heart, which is to say there is a frankness, darkness and richness on The Sea Alone that pulls you deeper into her world with each listen. Dive in. Listen/Download: http://kristilanesinclair.bandcamp.com/

7. Shining Soul - “Sonic Smash”

Shining Soul burst onto our playlists with their commanding album Sonic Smash just in time to make an appearance on the #NationHood Mixtape with their lead-off single "Get Up". But the whole album goes deep with soulful hip-hop anthems that strike back against oppression wherever they find it and find root in the strength and vitality of their creative expression. Listen/download:  http://shiningsoulmusic.bandcamp.com/album/sonic-smash

6. Tall Paul - “Birthday Present EP”

The remarkably consistent Anishinaabe MC from the Twin Cities, Tall Paul, keeps up his stellar record of releases with a head-knocking EP of assured, intelligent hip-hop that made its place on the list just for the standout storytelling track, "Taurus the Bull" (ft. $kywalker). The rest of the record rocks too. This is everyday rap responding to the real highs and lows of trying to survive and thrive in the game. And judging by the sounds of it, the struggle is in good hands. Tall Paul's got bars and keeps it moving, one beat at a time. Listen/Download: http://tallpaul612.bandcamp.com/album/birthday-present

5. City Natives - “4 Kingz”

The dynamic mic skills and boom bap-inflected east coast production of rising hip-hop stars City Natives bangs all the way through. Barely a year into their collaboration as a crew, City Natives brings together the multi-talented forces of Beaatz, IllFundz, Gearl, and BnE, like a young Native rap Voltron. Featuring incredible beat production from Juliano, the pass and trade flows of this crew sounds hungry for respect, recognition, and social change in equal parts. If this is just the beginning, there's no limit to where things can go from here. Listen/Download: http://citynatives.bandcamp.com/album/city-natives-4-kingz

4. Leonard Sumner - "Rez Poetry"

Speaking of realness, you just can't get around the raw authenticity of Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner. Landing right near the top of almost everyone's year-end list, Rez Poetry, offers a clear-eyed personal take on choices and consequences, struggles and love, and the complexities of contemporary Indigenous life—all spun through Sumner's unique brand of Native roots music that is deeply infused with acoustic guitar hymns, hip-hop rhythms and cadences, and just enough country and rhythm & blues to rep the urban, rez, and everywhere-in-between Indians with equal power. Tune in, kick back, and dream of that open, prairie sky. Listen/download: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/leonardsumner

3. Leanne Simpson - "Islands of Decolonial Love"

Bridging many worlds, storylines, generations, and forms of creativity with effortless poetics and heartbreaking, deceptive simplicity, Leanne Simpson was the only Anishinaabekwe that we know of who dropped a full-volume of published stories and poetry in tandem with a collaboratively composed album of the same, set to the expansive sonics of many of Indian Country's rising stars (including Tara Williamson, Cris Derksen, A Tribe Called Red, and Melody McKiver). Halfway between story, song, and verse, Simpson's poems flow through you like long-forgotten dreams suddenly remembered. Inspiring, strong and swift, these are the currents of sound that surround each island of decolonial love. All that, and it's available digitally and as a beautifully bright orange analog cassette release. So go dig up that tape player from the basement and rewind into Simpson's hypnotic spell. Listen/download: http://arpbooks.org/islands/

2. Samantha Crain - "Kid Face"

Choctaw singer Samantha Crain is three albums deep, at twenty-seven years young, and her music already echoes and twists through generations of greatness. With her urgent, accomplished and irresistible craft on its finest display to date, Kid Face offers up Crain's melancholy-infused melodic brand of Americana with a suite of songs that navigate pain, love, loss and growth with an aching resonance of unvarnished truth. Samantha Crain is the real deal. The rest are just pale imitations. Listen/download: http://thelineofbestfit.com/new-music/album-stream/samantha-crain-kid-face-album-sampler-premiere-142954

1. A Tribe Called Red - “Nation II Nation”

What other praise can be given to our brothers from ATCR that hasn't already been said? Since dropping their plaintive instrumental "The Road" exactly one year ago today, in honour of Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement, A Tribe Called Red has continued their stratospheric rise from the booming dancefloors of the electric pow-wow to the forefront of the world's musical consciousness. Seemingly overturning every false colonial conception about being Indian in the 21st century with each kinetic set of party-rocking, this three DJ crew blows the roof off everywhere they go, while always reppin' for the people. With their second full-length album, Nation II Nation, ATCR single-handedly dropped the revolutionary soundtrack that we all knew we needed, while elevating and expanding the possibilities of contemporary Indigenous music culture and pushing their electronic/Indigenous aesthetic hybrid forms to new heights and levels of power. Raise your fist up and get ready. The Tribe stands with us—as we rise together. Listen/Download: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/listen-to-a-tribe-called-reds-new-record-nation-ii-nation

 STREAM: The Best Indigenous Music of 2013

Keith Secola: Seeds, Songs and Social Commentary


Anishinaabeg blues rocker Keith Secola recently released his seventh studio album, Life is Grand, and has written a pop-rock-opera, Seeds, that was seven years in the making. Through both works, Secola is starting to pull a mainstream audience into, what has been, an underground following, and finding ways to stay true to his message along the way.

Winner of seven Native American Music Awards, and 2011 inductee into the Native American Music Hall of Fame, Keith Secola's best known track is NDN Kars. Fans will be glad to hear his new album, Life is Grand, released late 2012, includes an updated punk version of that well loved song, among a list of new tracks.

"I think the new album (Life Is Grand) is going to be the quintessential protest album of 2012, only I have to disguise it, like Dickens' Christmas Carol, " Secola recently told Christina Rose for Indian Country Today Media Network. In Keith Secola Gets Humble for the Muse Secola also spoke about his pop-rock-opera Seeds:

It took years of writing, and writing is difficult! I started writing it about six, seven years ago. The songs have lyrics and melody, and it’s not some new age, ‘Look at this Indian with the flute’ and the audience fills it in. This has dialogue, long, meaningful, songs, with to-the-point lyrics.

That was the hard part, trying to write without being pretentious about it, because we can’t be so serious, either. You have to write with a sense of humor, and also have to look at the criteria -- one, Is it entertaining? Two, is it philosophical? Three, is it spiritual in nature? And four, is it metaphysical in nature, so people can draw their own meaning to it?

The first song is called “Song For The Marginals”. And we say, "Come out, come out marginal creatures! Now is the time to dance under the sun, because we have been dancing under the full moon for a long time, and now it is our time to reclaim the sun!"

The songs on Life is Grand are also poignant, powerful and to-the point. Check out the track Say Your Name, written about residential schools:

Get the new Keith Secola album on CDBaby or iTunes, and read the complete ICTMN interview here.


DOWNLOAD: Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1


Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1 is the first of an ongoing series of free downloadable compilations of songs by artists who support the vision of Idle No More, Indigenous and allies. Volume 1 features a broad and diverse array of artists - everyone from Derek Miller (whose contribution, 7 Lifetimes, is a brand new track inspired by Chief Theresa Spence), to John K. Samson of the Weakerthans.

Bluesey-roots from Digging Roots. The indie stylings of Whitehorse. A funky hip hop jam from Plex with Wab Kinew and Sarah Podemski. It’s a feast for the ears. A celebration. And we’re only just getting started. If ever we’ve been idle - whether in our thoughts or our actions - we are now Idle No More.

This exciting collection - and the additional volumes that will follow soon (there's that many artists and voices!) - was conceived by Marty Ballentyne, Holly McNarland, Kevin Joseph and RPM's Ron "Ostwelve" Harris.

Listen to and download the tracks now, and read on below.

Idle No More: Songs for Live Volume 1

From co-creator of Idle No More: Songs for Live Vol. 1 Marty Ballentyne

Music is transcendent. Somewhere in between the melody, the rhythm, the words, the instruments and the people playing them, it all adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. It’s magic! Music soothes frayed nerves. It makes you dance. It says things you just can’t put into words. Songs make you think, make you feel, bring you up, bring you down, bring you around. For some music is loud and groovy on a Friday night; for some, it’s quiet and calming on a Sunday morning. Music brings us all together. We have it in common, along with the air, the water, the earth beneath our feet, and the sky above.

Idle No More began in November as a grassroots effort by four women to educate people about Bill C 45, tabled by the federal government.  The news media and commentators such as Rick Mercer had given the bill cursory attention when the bill was introduced in Parliament in mid October. Hidden inside the 440 page bill are changes that will affect all Canadians, now and in the future. Most Canadian waterways, protected since the days of John A. Macdonald, are protected no longer. Amendments have been made to The Indian Act without consulting First Nations. A series of teach ins by Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean first brought awareness, then concern, then action. People started talking. Social media networks were lit up by the sharing of information. And virtually overnight, the national conversation shifted considerably. Little over a month after the first rallies and flash mob round dances took place across Canada, Idle No More has become an international movement.

At the heart of Idle No More is a desire to foster dialogue. People are talking, and about many things - not only Bill C 45, but also the relationship between Canada and its First Peoples, protection of the environment, the economy, and the Third World conditions of some of our communities. People are also talking about how they can contribute. It was in this spirit of pitching in that musicians Holly McNarland, Kevin Joseph, Ron Harris (Ostwelve), and Marty Ballentyne came together to work on gathering tracks from artists in support of Idle No More, to be released as a series of free downloadable collections of songs. This is the first.

Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1 is the first of an ongoing series of free downloadable compilations of songs by artists who support the vision of Idle No More. Over the past few weeks we’ve been contacting people from across Canada and around the world, and the response has been fantastic. It’s a feast for the ears. A celebration. And we’re only just getting started. If ever we’ve been idle - whether in our thoughts or our actions - we are now Idle No More.

Words of support from artists on Volume 1:

Jenn Grant: "Perhaps music can help spread awareness and support our precious earth, and to our leaders who are fighting this cause. Let us grow together and show our cause and concern. Canadians need to shout and sing and sometimes starve - let us be heard. "

Holly McNarland: My focus is to speak to music fans and to hopefully sway some of the opinions and myths about First Nations people, and shine some light on how the Harper Government is selling us out via our water, land and resources. Bill C-45 needs to go.

Whitehorse: We believe that conditions in many First Nations' communities are deplorable and would not be tolerated in neighbourhoods in Toronto or Calgary (for example) and as such there is a deep double standard at play in Canada. We support Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her. Also, the shredding of environmental regulations and the defunding of environmental and science organizations at the very time when there is a push by Harper to build a pipeline through environmentally vulnerable lands and waters is cause for great concern to all Canadians.

DOWNLOAD: Derek Miller - "7 Lifetimes"


Artists are rapidly giving voice to the #IdleNoMore movement in word, dance and song and we're sharing the latest sounds from Indian Country's finest. But it's not just round dances anymore.

Today we #SoundtrackTheStruggle with Mohawk blues rocker Derek Miller, who released a song that he wrote and recorded for Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence.

At the time of press, tomorrow will be Day 19 of Chief Spence's hunger strike. She pledges to continue until PM Harper agrees to meet with her.

Artists, send us your contributions and we'll continue to broadcast the revolution and #SoundtracktheStruggle.

DOWNLOAD: Derek Miller - "7 Lifetimes"

DOWNLOAD: Sean 'Blues Puppy' Riquelme - "Licked"


We'd guess that Sean Riquelme earned his Blues Puppy title for the fact that he first started playing guitar at age 6 - as soon as his hands could reach the frets - and was performing for crowds at age 11. A young pup indeed, and now only at 15 years old he's ready to take the music world by storm with his first EP Licked. The title track is this week's #RPMdownload.

Guitar phenom Sean "Blues Puppy" Riquelme (Cree/Quichaua) is at the start of his career. His show “Tribute to Guitar Legends” runs at local venues, festivals, fundraisers and coffee shops with his band in British Columbia and it's no surprise his influences include such legends as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Buddy Guy, BB King and Eric Clapton.

Riquelme is on the path to greatness himself with his clear dedication to his craft.

The new EP Licked is Riquleme's first foray into original material and includes tracks written by Riquelme and co-written with producer Michael Burley. We've got the exclusive download of the title track for you this week - get it now and say you knew him when.

DOWNLOAD: "Licked" - Sean "Blues Puppy" Riquelme

DOWNLOAD: Arthur Renwick - "Do the Bukowski"


Arthur Renwick, of the Haisla First Nation in Kitimat, BC, is a photo-based artist, independent curator, professor, AND musician. His new album, The Cigarbox Chronicles, is killer and we've got a download of our current favourite track for you.

These days Arthur lives and works in Toronto, dedicating most of his time to his work in music. He sent us a couple tracks from the Ken Whitely produced The Cigarbox Chronicles to check out and it was hard to choose one to feature - but this waltz has grit, wit, beauty and charm and showcases Arthur's songwriting, voice and guitar chops so perfectly we couldn't resist sharing it. It drifts down a dark alley, over a woman's shoulder, past a bottle of whisky, into your ear and right to your bones where it will stay until you raise a glass or sing along, or both. Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD: "Do the Bukowski" - Arthur Renwick